Having been very impressed with the Nisi V5 Holder and the ND filters I reviewed last month, I was understandably excited to get my hands on the big brother system – specifically designed for use with the flagship Nikon 14-24 f2.8 lens. I’ve owned this lens since 2007 and it’s incredible sharpness and potential for extreme perspectives, has made it an ever-present occupant of my camera bag. Since its inception however, the question of controlling dynamic range and polarisation has been an ugly one. Traditional filters just wouldn’t fit due to the extreme wide angles and the bulbous front element.
Over the following years a number of filter manufacturers have come onto the market with solutions, and I have used three of them with varying degrees of success and dissatisfaction.
My criteria for a successful system are simple: Ease of Use | Build Quality | Colour Fidelity
Not a remarkably long list by any means, but rarely satisfied.
Last week we took the short ferry ride across The Minch to the Outer Hebrides and thoroughly put the new holder and filters through their paces, and once again I can honestly say, I’m blown away. I love them and have subsequently sold my old system that I have been using for the last 3 years.
As I mention in my video review below, any filter system comes associated with varying degrees of hassle. Putting anything in front of your lens is going to create an additional level of effort and when you’re shooting in the Arctic with down mitts on, things get tricky! However, that is something we all endure if we want to make images in extreme environments. The build quality is reassuringly robust, yet light and compact. Nisi provided me with a 150mm Polariser, 150mm iR ND1000 10 stop ND, 150×170 2 stop soft graduated and a 150×170 3 stop reverse graduated.
The filters are glass and are impressive in their quality. The main thing with them is the complete lack of colour casts, which, for me makes using them a pleasure. I have been so accustomed to dealing with colour casts in my workflow, the lack of them now feels like a weight I didn’t know I had has been lifted. I can now work faster and more creatively because of this – and that is critical for creative workflow.
I can now shoot at 14mm with three filters stacked i front of the lens, with NO VIGNETTING, NO COLOUR CASTS and capture images I could not capture before. The beauty of no colour casts is I can focus stack without an ND on the lens to capture the full depth of a wide-angled image, and then put the 10 stop ND on for the sky and water. This massively cuts down on the time to capture exposures and the workflow of trying then to balance the different colour temperatures of the resulting RAW files.
Testing the Polariser
One of the biggest mistakes people make wit polarisers is using them to darken blue skies with a wide angled lens. Polarisation across the sky is not even, with the strongest effect at 90 degrees to the sun. The 14mm lens has a very wide field of view, and using a polariser with a blue sky visible will lead to dar areas and paler areas. This is a pain to correct in processing and is best avoided in the first place. However, when you want to shoot water flowing through a forest, a polariser is a must have piece of equipment.
Testing the 10 stop ND
Colour fidelity while using ND filters is critical. I don’t want to spend time correcting a mistake some of my equipment has caused. The Nisi iR ND1000 150x150mm filter is just as perfect as its 100x100mm version. Are you guaranteed exactly 10 stops of ND – No. There is always some minute variability with these and this larger one is slightly over 10 stops, about 10.2 by my calculation.
Well, what can I say? I’ve been using systems by some of the largest names in Filters for nearly a decade and the NISI 150mm system is a clear winner.
Previous systems have had some dreadful colour casts, others only allow for screw on filters and not the use of graduated, or reverse graduated filters. Yet others have been plagued by light-bleed issues, ruining valuable and irreplaceable images. My desires as a professional photographer are minimal. I want reliable equipment that makes my life easier – simple! My experiences with the Nisi V5 Holder and now the Nisi 150mm holder and filters for the Nikon 14-24mm lens are all positive.
I do want to finally mention the ordering and delivery. The filters are usually shipped direct from Amazon Europe, and they arrived very quickly and superbly wrapped/packaged. When you open the box you experience a similar experience to opening a new Apple product: Attention to detail, professionalism and quality.
Highly Recommended 5 STARS